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Microsoft unlikely to lead anti-virus sector

December 22nd, 2006

Natalya Kaspersky, CEO of Internet security firm Kaspersky, says that Microsoft is unlikely to be the leader of the anti-virus sector, despite the security enhancements of Vista and its own anti-virus product.

In an article published by Kaspersky Lab – Security from Microsoft – the door to a brave new world? – Kaspersky gives three reasons why the software giant will struggle to join the anti-virus sector.

Firstly, Microsoft’s poor reputation in the security field. Says Kaspersky: “Microsoft solutions are still perceived as being insecure or full of security loopholes. The loopholes in Windows and MS Office applications are due, above all, to their extraordinary popularity – hackers across the world are always going to hack programs used by the majority. Given this, I am afraid that Microsoft’s new anti-virus solutions may suffer the same fate, as virus writers will create malware that is designed primarily to evade detection by OneCare.”

Secondly, Kaspersky points to the speed at which anti-virus vendors must respond to new threats as another of Microsoft’s weaknesses. “All vendors face the same dilemma – either detect the maximum possible number of malicious programs, even at the risk of false positives; or avoid false positives at the risk of failing to detect malicious programs.

Finally, Kaspersky highlights detection rates as crucial to the commercial success of any anti-virus product. “The detection rate is a very important characteristic of any anti-virus product. When OneCare was put through its paces by AV-Test GmbH at the University of Magdeburg as recently as September and November, the results from both tests indicated a detection rate that was fairly low by the standards of most anti-virus products.”

Kaspersky concludes by advising consumers that, despite security enhancements to Vista, anti-virus remains crucial when operating any PC: “Windows Vista does have a number of features that improve security, but it still cannot guarantee protection against malware. A standalone anti-virus solution is, therefore, a must.

“Consumers can protect their PCs by choosing either a Microsoft solution, or one from an independent anti-virus company. When choosing a solution, makes sure that it’s from a trustworthy vendor; and that it will reliably protect against malware. And last but not least, choose a solution that’s Vista-compatible. A reputable anti-virus vendor will include this information in the system requirements.”

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